So what might we identify as the motivations behind creating a media expert role? For one, this announcement comes in the wake of Twitter’s appointment of Simon Rogers as its new data editor (see previous Editors Weblog article) - a move that signalled the social network site’s clear intention to increase its potential as a force of serious journalism, having somebody sift through their sea of tweets in order to fish out compelling news-worthy stories. Twitter already has a prominent media expert in its midst: Erica Anderson, who made it into Forbes’ "30 under 30" media list, appointed in February 2011 to "specialize in helping news organizations and journalists use Twitter effectively to find sources, develop comprehensive stories and engage audiences in meaningful civic discussions." Anderson already set up 'Twitter for Newsrooms' in 2011, an online toolkit designed to help journalists use Twitter for "finding sources, verifying facts, publishing stories, [and] promoting [their] work and [themselves]," already a significant step in fostering a relationship between Twitter and the media.
As is the case with many breaking news stories, this one first surfaced on Twitter – one tweet, then two, then hundreds, all bearing the same piece of news: there has been a horrific massacre in a Damascus suburb on Saturday 20 April... and the media are ignoring it. According to Twitter users, 450 people were killed by the forces of President Bashar al-Assad, including women and children, in an effort to eliminate a large number of terrorists in the area. Not exactly an ignorable news item...
The hashtag #rememberthe450 began trending on the micro-blogging site. Twitter users sensed it was their moral obligation to make this human tragedy known to the world, and simultaneously to denounce the silence of the traditional media who were failing to keep up with breaking news of such a shocking nature.
This isn't entirely true, though. Delesalle points out that the media did not ignore events in Syria, they simply chose to limit what they reported in order to avoid misinforming the public. CNN, France 24, BBC and The New York Times all reported on the violence at Jdeidet al-Fadel on their websites, but all reinforced the fact that they did not have sufficient information on the attack, and therefore, were reluctant to report on specifics as important as the number of fatalities.
Around 1 p.m. EST yesterday, panic spread after the Associated Press (AP) Twitter account announced that US President Barack Obama had been wounded from a series of explosions at the White House. Minutes later, the AP revealed that their account had been hacked.
With 1.9 million followers, the concession of retweets spread like wildfire, reaching the stock market where the Dow lost 130 points within a few minutes before returning to it original level.
The fake tweet read: “Breaking: Two Explosions in the White House and Barack Obama is injured.”
The AP quickly announced that their account had been hacked and was suspended yesterday. Following the incident, an FBI investigation is under way. An AP staffer said on his Twitter account that the attack came shortly after a number of AP employees had received a phishing email.
Hacking can have strong implications for a venerable publication like the AP.
“A media publisher conceivably could be sued for negligence if things are published under their name that is not true and if they didn’t take reasonable steps to prevent the erroneous publication of information,” said Nick Economidis to Bloomberg.
According to French journalist Laure Nouraout on meta-media.fr, the summit panelists made reference to the Boston bombing regularly throughout the day to provide a solid basis for their discussions. As David Hayward, Director of the BBC College of Journalism's events programme wrote on his blog: "Last week was quite extraordinary for breaking news stories. I was in New York for most of it, preparing for the BBC College of Journalism and New York Times Social Media Summit #smsnyc. As many people pointed out, the event could not have come at a better time for the issues that were to emerge."
The summit took a critical glance at the way in which breaking news is treated and consumed by the masses. The general consensus seems to be that events in Boston have acted as a real game-changer for the relationship between journalism and social media. Developments during the Boston bombing scandal were reported and discussed on Twitter on an unprecedented scale and hereby revealed the extent to which traditional methods of news reporting such as TV and radio are growing largely outdated.
So what exactly will a "data editorial" role in Twitter’s media team entail? Back in September 2012, a job ad described the ideal candidate as being able to "create "clear and insightful data-driven case studies" using Twitter’s data for the press, partners, and its own internal communications." Twitter is remaining quiet on the matter of Rogers' appointment, but it can be assumed that his new job will consist in utilising his expertise in the field of data journalism to interpret the dizzying number of tweets that inundate the Twitter network – all this in a format that makes sense to a data-shy public. The most that Rogers revealed in his blog announcement yesterday was that "Twitter has become such an important element in the way we work as journalists. It's impossible to ignore, and increasingly at the heart of every major event, from politics to sport and entertainment. As data editor, I'll be helping to explain how this phenomenon works."
The appointment of a data editor may well be considered the next logical step in Twitter's ever-increasing domination of the news industry. Over the past few years, the real-time communications platform has been dictating the news agenda with growing power and influence, consistently pipping newspapers and websites to the post when it comes to breaking the latest current affairs stories.
It’s been a month since Flattr expanded its partnership with Twitter, Instagram Soundcloud, and Flickr. The idea of “flattering” content with small donations has become a mild success. Now, Twitter has cut off the partnership citing a violation of API terms.
Flattr co-founder Linus Olsson said in a blog post that Twitter is “stomping out innovation.”
“We feel that Twitter is reading things into their terms that is not there.”
According to Olsson, Twitter’s “Platform Operations” team contacted them and said they were violating the “Commercial Use” section in the API “Rules of the Road” which says “Your advertisements cannot resemble or reasonably be confused by users as a Tweet. For example, ads cannot have Tweet actions like follow, retweet, favorite, and reply. And you cannot sell or receive compensation for Tweet actions or the placement of Tweet actions on your Service.”
Olsson said he is trying to work out a better deal. In the meantime, those using the Flattr browser extension can still flattr tweeters through an alternative mechanism.
The move follows Twitter’s decision to cancel another payment service, Ribbon, which allows users to sell items on multiple platforms.
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